How online stores can build trust

By Chad Fichardt, senior PR account director at MediaWeb

In a time when malls are at the mercy of criminals, load-shedding and tightened shopper budgets, e-commerce has offered an opportunity to finally step up; not so much to replace the bricks-and-mortar retailer, but to enhance it.

Both online and traditional stores are hard at work trying to establish the missing ingredient: trust. Retailers are looking to rekindle a feeling of safety, and e-commerce stores are looking for checkout peace of mind amid growing fraud fears.

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Dartmouth and New York University showed that our brains take just three-hundredths of a second to decide trustworthiness – far less than a blink of the eye.

So how can online retailers build trust among shoppers with minute attention spans? This is where technology and retail marketing converge.

“The power of the brand and how you communicate during the customer journey is key to building trust, along with highly visible and recognised security provider authentication,” says Mustapha Zaouini, CEO of electronic payment provider PayU.

Superbalist co-founder Claude Hanan puts the trust issue in practical terms: “It’s more risky reading out your credit card details to a waiter when ordering a pizza over the phone (the waiter usually re-reads aloud all the card information you give them) than it is buying online through a secure channel.

“Instances of fraud are rare relative to the number of orders made online, and the introduction of 3D Secure will further reduce this. If a fraudulent order is placed, our internal fraud detection system prevents 99% of these fraudulent transactions from being processed. We do not dispatch goods to the fraudster.”

Even the big boys struggle. Apple Pay, the poster child of seamless mobile payment, is now facing a fraud headache. Six percent of all Apple Pay transactions are reported to be fraudulent. The cause: banking institutions not cross checking stolen credit card data.

Once a customer has bought online three or more times, the propensity for a repeat purchase increases as the convenience of the channel is understood, and the trust is gained.

Two key trust generators are:

A well-communicated payment process

Transparency through the checkout process builds trust. The best way to achieve this is to hold the hand of the shopper as they head through the business end of the process.

Start optimising your Web site from the checkout first and then work your way back to the landing page or pay-per-click ad. Testing your checkout funnel will help you pick up patterns and behaviour that can be fed back into the communication loop to provide reassurance on the privacy and security of details entered.

According to Business Insider, $4-trillion will be lost this year due to abandoned shopping carts. The number one reason for customers to leave a shopping cart is hidden costs. Make sure that total price is given on entry to checkout, with no hidden charges.

Indicate methods of payment, vouchers and promotion codes, shipping options and required registration prior to, and throughout, checkout, and ensure that security best practice is followed.

It is always a good idea to inform the customer at the start of checkout that payment authentication will be required.

Finally, choose a trusted payment partner. Zaouini says, “Our clients, like Pick n Pay, SAA and Nu Metro, will have gone through thorough due diligence based on perceived ease of use, trial-ability, risk and credibility.”

Online marketing

Studies by Forrester Research, Yahoo and comScore, show that almost 92% of purchases take place offline following online consumer activity.

In addition, more than $500-billion in sales and nearly 20% of all in-store retail sales are now influenced by mobile content. In 2016, that number is expected to jump to more than 50%, according to a study by Deloitte.

While online retailers are sharpening their skills, it’s more precise customer relationship management that is playing a bigger role.

If you don’t have the basics of e-mail marketing, list building, retargeting and social nurturing in place to build trust, you might just be missing your mark. These factors are not only driving better shopper experiences and loyalty, but they are delivering conversions.

What is clear is that today’s customer needs help trusting transactions. With a sound payment process in place, and both online and offline measures in support, there is no reason why this isn’t achievable.


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